Spotlight on the Roles of Learner, Servant, and Storyteller
One key missions mobilization principles that we like to talk about is this one. Mobilization is to the reached, what evangelization is to the unreached. Did you catch that? Mobilization is to the reached, to believers, what evangelization is to the unreached. There are principles that work on both sides.
Mobilization is to the reached, to believers, what evangelization is to the unreached.
So for example in the history of modern missions we have made mistakes but we’ve also learned some things. We’ve learned over the years how to enter a community in a way that makes sense to the people we’re trying to reach. And is truly a blessing to them. So one key primer article on this is by the Brewsters and it’s called”The Learner Servant and Storyteller Postures” learner, servant, and, storyteller and it’s one of the key things we try to get into the training of those that we’re sending to the nations. Don’t just come in with that attitude of a parent, like I’m the expert, I know all the answers and I’m going to fix you guys. But actually truly come in as a learner seeking to understand what they value. Asking questions rather than giving answers and advice, at least right off the bat. Come in as a learner. And then as you learn, you’ll start to understand what are their needs felt needs and real needs. What are the things that they really feel they need? And then start serving become a servant who will actually meet those felt needs and be a blessing to them in tangible practical and spiritual ways.
So come in as a learner and a servant and as you come in as a learner and a servant, we tell these workers we’re sending to the nations, they will also come and ask you what is it that you value? What is it that you are is important to you? And then you have the opportunity to tell stories, to tell your own personal journey with Jesus and to tell the stories of Jesus and of the Bible. So being a learner servant and storyteller are key postures that we try to instill into the heart and mind and best practices of training for these workers going to the nations.
But guess what? These same principles work in the Body of Christ. So many times we have, in the past, gone to the Body of Christ gone to local churches with an attitude of like “I’m here to tell you what you need to be doing to get your act together for missions”. And coming in with that attitude of judgment and or expertness. Again many times raise the walls. People don’t like to be told what to do. So maybe we can apply the same postures and come in first as a learner trying to understand what has been going on in this community. What do they value, what’s important to them. And then find a way to serve real felt needs that that pastor and that community have what are they, what do they need and how can we help with that? First their needs and then as they, as we do that they, will be open to the stories we can tell of what God is doing in the nations through ordinary people just like you and I.
So even among believers, “mobilization is to reached what evangelization is to the unreached”, even among believers, these same principles can inform how we enter a community well in a way that allows them to receive the message of God’s heart for the nations and their role in it.